“Why, yes, I am an Octo-Super-Business Mom”

Octo-super-mom

People ask me every single day, “how on earth do you do it?”  Typically, the question is posed after I crack a joke about a normal, everyday event that happened with my three kiddos under age 5 or my latest business idea.  I guess I haven’t actually stopped to consider that NOT managing my family and businesses would even be a possibility.  Honestly, the day our family stands still for whatever reason will be the day I lose my mind.

I’m no different from any other working mom out there.  But I have started asking other amazing women how THEY do it.  And here’s what I’m finding to be the best 3 bits of advice I’ve found:

1.       Joy is the secret to happiness.  This year I’ve learned that there is truly a difference between joy and happiness.  My 88 year old client confirmed this for me just this morning.  Joy is something you simply have.  It’s who you are.  Happiness, rather, is circumstantial.  So it doesn’t matter what’s going on your life, if you have joy in everything, you will survive.

2.       The concept of following your calling is a luxury of the privileged.  Jen Hatmaker’s book, “For the Love,” really opened my eyes to this one.  She points out that we often feel the need to walk around acting like we should press pause on our present lives while we wait for our calling or to find our purpose.  This is baloney!  There is no need to think “when my kids are bigger, I’ll [you fill in the blank here].” Our calling is to take advantage of the opportunities in our lives today and leverage those things for God’s glory.  It really can be that simple!

3.       Business should be an extension of your life.  I’ve learned this the hard way.  We need to stop trying to fit our careers into our lives and start remembering that the choices we make in our work define our life.  You are sitting in your chair this very second living your life, whether you realize it or not.  Stop trying to be something you aren’t and start embracing who you already are.  And if you don’t like that person, change it. God’s grace will prevent you from falling on your face.

So what’s the best advice you can give me?  Reach out to me at valerie@grinkmeyerleonard.com or on social media.  And don’t worry, I am honestly working on learning to be still.  What a concept, huh?

 

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member www.FINRA.org/www.SIPC.org, a Registered Investment Adviser.  This communication strictly intended for individuals residing in the states of AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside these states due to various state regulations and registration requirements regarding investment products and services.

What does college really cost, Valerie?

What-does-college-realy-cost,-Valerie---pic

So, yesterday I sat down to think about Jake’s college account and whether we’re on track or not. He just turned 5 last week and we’re actually already considering whether we want to try and fully fund his college tuition knowing that Addie and Kaitlyn are right behind him at ages 3 and 1. So I did a bit of research on what college is running these days and here’s what I found:

College Expenses

In the state of Alabama for the 2015-2016 school year, public in-state tuition averaged $5,929 and a school like Auburn or Alabama could run as much as $10,170. Many schools include the following expenses in their published cost for attendance but the real numbers can vary significantly.

· Books and supplies – In Alabama, books average $1,285 yearly. Most colleges provide estimates of this cost.

· Personal expenses – This category includes everything from late-night takeout to laundry and telephone bills, and the tab can add up quickly. For the 2013-2014 academic year, the national average for personal expenses at a four-year public college was $2,105.

· Room and board – Living costs over and above personal expenses averaged $11,000 for on-campus living and $11,600 for off-campus living in the state of Alabama for the 2015-2016 school year.

· Travel – Don’t forget to add in the cost for travel between home and campus for the weekends, vacations, and semester breaks. Consider how often your child will make the trip home and what mode of transportation will be used (bus, train, plan or car). For the 2013-2014 academic year, the national average for transportation costs at four-year public colleges was $1,123.

Pre-college ExpensesEven before kids enroll, college costs start adding up.

· Testing – High school students usually take at least one test for college admission, such as the SAT, ACT, or Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Because test results are very important in the admissions process, students may opt to take an exam more than once to improve their scores. Plan on at least $200 in testing fees.

· Test preparation – To gear up for college admissions tests, students may want or need to take preparation courses, which can run into the thousands of dollars for classroom instruction. Online exam prep courses typically cost less. Many who tout increased score results offer to reimburse you if kids don’t actually improve.

· Application fees – Submitting an application typically costs between $35 and $60 per school. There is a growing list of schools that have a $75 application fee. Given that most students apply to between 6 and 10 colleges, these fees can amount to several hundred dollars.

Stay tuned for more info on what Rob and I are doing to save for Jake’s college and how we plan to prepare for the girls’ education as well.

*Source: http://www.collegetuitioncompare.com/compare/tables/?state=AL

 

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member www.FINRA.org/www.SIPC.org, a Registered Investment Adviser.  This communication strictly intended for individuals residing in the states of AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside these states due to various state regulations and registration requirements regarding investment products and services.

I’m shocked!

Im-shocked---Valerie-Northside-of-average

I’ve been in the financial services industry long enough to know the dirty little secrets regarding how things are done. It never ceases to amaze me what some so-called “financial advisors” will do to earn a buck. This morning, I was sitting in a local coffee shop and overheard an advisor pushing a product on what I’m sure was an unsuspecting client or prospective client. The words he used were so definitive.  He described his recommendations in terms that made sense.  He had an answer for everything. But he was selling her a load of garbage!

I sat there with no intentions of being nosy yet couldn’t help but pick-up on the fact that the information the prospect provided him clearly showed that his recommendation was unsuitable for her. Understand, I don’t know all the facts concerning this woman’s situation; however, it has been my experience that clients too often don’t do their homework before signing on the dotted line.

Thankfully, in this case, I had the brief opportunity to encourage her privately to ask him how much he will get paid if she took his recommendation. When I anxiously overheard him finally come clean upon her request concerning his $17,000 (!!!) commission, she shifted in her chair and gave me a nervous glance. I don’t know how things will turn out for her, but I certainly hope you’ll consider asking the question to your advisor the next time a recommendation is made. When you understand how someone gets paid, you may just understand their motives.

 

Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member www.FINRA.org/www.SIPC.org, a Registered Investment Adviser.  This communication strictly intended for individuals residing in the states of AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MD, MS, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside these states due to various state regulations and registration requirements regarding investment products and services.